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UCD 0-1 Shamrock Rovers

placeholder UCD (0) 0 SHAMROCK ROVERS (1) 1

Twigg 9

EAS Sports Cup ' 2nd Round Monday 10 May 2010, ko 1945 By BRIAN de SALVO He's taken his time but when Mark Langtry eventually made his debut for UCD his first touch almost changed the course of this interesting EA Sports Cup tie. Langtry, one of Pat Scully's bright youngsters during the Hoops revival, gave up the eleven a side football to play Futsal and is now Ireland's captain at this version of the game.

Langtry, now in his fourth year on campus, was expected to make his debut in the previous round of this competition but was ruled unfit at the last moment. He had to wait until the 76th minute of this game to come off the bench. Immediately a fine pass from Brian Shortall released Shane Fitzgerald on the right. Langtry, racing in on the far post, was just too late on the cross, his close range header striking the outside of the post.

 

 

It was one of three second half goal chances that could have embarrassed a powerful Rovers side. Thirteen minutes into the second period a mistake by Pat Flynn gifted Ciaran Kilduff. He supplied Graham Rusk whose scuffed shot reared up off the pitch forcing Hoops keeper Alan Mannus to a save that was a lot more difficult than it looked. And, in time added on, Craig Sives prevented extra time with a goal line clearance.

 

 

Hoops manager Michael O'Neill takes this competition seriously, his team selection was a clear indication. Rovers brought a full first team squad; six with cross channel cvs plus a goalkeeper who is a full international. Oh, and the chairman of the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland. Rovers fielded nine of the Airtricity League team that beat Galway 2-0 on Friday, UCD just three of the side that won in Bray. So when the visitors went ahead after only nine minutes there was the prospect of a mismatch. A mistake by Michael Kelly compromised the covering Michael Leahy and allowed O'Connor to cross for the unmarked Gary Twigg to rise and execute a perfect header that gave Brennan no chance. Rovers were impressive, passing and moving well with O'Connor combining well with Danny Murphy down the left in the early stages. Yet, after the goal, Billy Brennan was not called upon to make a direct save although his clean handling from crosses was impressive. Mannus, in the other goal, also had only one direct save to make as Rovers bossed the game. But the young Students showed commendable maturity after a shaky start and kept their mentors out of the comfort zone with a spirited second half response.

 

Bohs excepted, this Shamrock Rovers team is the most accomplished I have seen in the Aitricity League this season and, now that the early season injury list is beginning to abate, it should provide a serious challenge for the title. So UCD manager Martin Russell was understandably upbeat about the evening. 'We promised our youngsters that they would get a chance with UCD. There is no better way of implementing what we coach than to play against the best players. So they will learn from their experience,' explains Martin. The game sets up Friday's League encounter perfectly. It's difficult to believe Mr O'Neill will make many changes. UCD, on the other hand, having treated the EA Sports Cup as a 'fringe' competition, have the nucleus of their rested 'senior' players ready to return. UCD : Billy Brennan; Michael Kelly, Michael Leahy, Brian Shortall, Ciaran Nangle; Stephen Doyle (Shane Fitzgerald h/t), Danny Fallon, Stephen Roche; Graham Rusk, Sean Houston (Ciaran Kilduff h/t), Keith Ward (Mark Langtry 76). SHAMROCK ROVERS: Alan Mannus; Pat Flynn, Craig Sives, Dan Murray, Danny Murphy; Paddy Kavanagh, James Chambers (Dessie Baker 65), Stephen Rice (Stephen Bradley 57), Robert Bayly, Sean O'Connor; Gary Twigg (Thomas Stewart 65). Referee: Richie Winter